'Socktober' campaign at P.E.I. high school off on the right foot

Submitted by Darcy Harris

Students at Westisle Composite High School in Elmsdale, P.E.I., have launched a month-long campaign during October to fill a huge box full of new socks and gently-used winter clothing to donate to Islanders in need.

They're calling it Socktober and the initiative is spearheaded by student council president Mary Fran Williams, who drew inspiration for the campaign from seeing humanitarian efforts by students elsewhere in the world.

"You just put yourself in somebody else's shoes, right," she said. "You think of all the stuff you have in the wintertime and you think about somebody who might not have that."

Williams and other students put a large cardboard box in the lobby of the school for donations, and they're hoping the box will be overflowing with donations "so that everybody can have something to stay warm because Canada is cold," she said. 

Students shared pictures of the Socktober box on Facebook and Instagram and it's generating buzz in West Prince, she said, with some alumni and teachers from other schools pitching in.

"The box is getting filled up — not to the brim yet, but it's getting there," she said. "With the help of social media we're hoping that it spreads."

Williams said if the box fills up then they'll just keep it going, "and if we have to put another box out, that'll be awesome."


The campaign is getting some help from Darcy Harris, a teacher at Westisle and a student council advisor, although he said the students are firmly in charge.

"The kids, they run everything," he said. "Mary Fran is a go-getter — she came up with this idea, she got student council excited about the idea, she's now got the school and the staff excited about the idea.

"I'm just a bystander. I'm along for the ride," he added, laughing.

Staff at the school have pitched in on Socktober, and many more have promised to donate. 

All the items will be donated to a free yard sale at the O'Leary Baptist Church being held in November, Williams said.

"Donations are still coming steady — everybody reacted pretty good to it."

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